A humorous, upbeat look at a contemporary church community where all are welcome.

READ REVIEW

A CHURCH FOR ALL

This cheerful introduction to attending a Sunday-morning church service provides an overview of the experience in an inclusive, liberal Christian church.

The story opens with two dads (one white, one black) serving breakfast to their daughters, who are black. The family walks to church, meeting other adults and children of many ages, ethnicities, and body types as the congregation gathers. The huge cast of characters entering the church includes gay and lesbian couples, several people with canes, a child using a wheelchair, interracial families, and people with all sorts of looks, including shaved heads, mohawks, and tattoos. The church choir and the black pastor wear traditional robes, but the décor of the church is upbeat and contemporary, with banners proclaiming the welcoming and inclusive philosophy of this congregation. A simple, rhyming text describes some of the aspects of the worship service and different kinds of church members, with a repeated refrain emphasizing this church is for everyone. A cross is displayed at the front of the church, and one banner reads “God’s Doors Are Open to All,” but God and Jesus are not mentioned in the text. Cheerful, busy illustrations expand the minimal text with the intriguing cast of definitely diverse churchgoers, charmingly including children who can’t sit still. An author’s note explains the story was inspired by the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.

A humorous, upbeat look at a contemporary church community where all are welcome. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1179-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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